MARQUETTE - Hours of studying paid off for this year's Upper Peninsula Regional Spelling Bee winner, Hancock Public Schools eighth-grader Shannon Nulf.
"I tried to study at least every other night," Nulf said after the event Wednesday. "My mom and I started out going through all (of the words) and I got about half of them. Then we went back through and wrote down the ones I didn't get. As we went along, we found the ones that I got wrong had patterns, so I memorized the patterns."
Nulf won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will take place from May 28-30.
Nulf's mother, Dawn, said Wednesday's event was her daughter's first ever spelling bee.
"I'm very proud of her and really happy for her. She studied quite a bit for this," she said. "We've very excited for her to go."
The competition began at 12:30 p.m., with fifth and sixth grades competing in Westwood High School's Auditorium, and seventh and eighth grades in the Negaunee High School Auditorium.
The four finalists then met for a showdown in Negaunee at 3:15 p.m.
"I was nervous," Nulf said of the finals. "I was more nervous than I was for the regional competition and the one earlier (Wednesday) because I knew there were people here that are really talented if they made it past their grade level. I just tried to stay focused and not let my nerves get to me, because I know that that happens easily."
Jerry Carnes, moderator for the seventh- and eighth-grade competition, said this year's event was memorable.